BROWNCOAT ID#:3901   SINCE: 2004.01.04 10:27   LAST HERE: 2006.12.16 07:44   CREDITS: 1





Saturday, July 24, 2004 11:00:37 AM

I went to The Bourne Supremacy today, it had the potential to be great but was instead merely okay. I'll get to that later though, as the good stuff always should come first in my opinion.

The Bourne Supremacy is the sequel to the very popular The Bourne Identity. It stars once again Matt Damon, supported by such as Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, and Karl Urban. The plot picks up a few years after 'Identity with Bourne and, I guess, his wife Marie living in India and minding their own business. Meanwhile in Berlin some obligatory Super-Evil Russians are framing Bourne for the murder of a CIA operative and an agency mole. The Russians send someone after Bourne and he assumes its the CIA and goes after them.

The story in this film is excellent, its got a lot of drama in it and the natural tension that comes with a solid spy-thriller script. The acting is all around good with notable performances by Damon, Stiles, and Brian Cox (who spends a lot of the film acting kind of like an older, fatter Lewis Black). Its a good dark story with some nice twists and a wonderful assortment of spy-type gadgetry. Also the score, while primarily percussion (haven't heard one like that in a good while), is exceptional and very well placed. Its a soundtrack I'll deffinately be getting in the near future.

Okay, that was short, 'Bad Stuff' time:

This film was in a large part ruined due to extremely shoddy editing and a gargantuan amount of bad camera-work.

First off this was obviously shot on hand-held, this isn't really a problem as you can use hand-held and the flaws that generally come with it to amazing effect (see: Joss Whedon's 'Firefly').

They however do not use it effectively and since hand-held is usually intended for use with steady shots they gather a lot of grain and blurriness as well as focusing problems due to an almost obscene number of whip-pans and motion shots.

Again, this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing but it dosen't work for this type of film, its distracting and you never get a concrete picture of what the camera is looking at. There are also, I think, approximately two shots that last longer than a minute without getting cut around and they tend to be so dark you cant tell what you're looking at.

Another major problem is the editing of the film. It falls into the trap that many action based films of the day do. Remember in The Chronicles of Riddick how whenever there was an action scene they constantly shifted the way that you were viewing it and made it so you were looking at it too closely? They often did this at a lightning fast pace, alternating between light and dark shots that leave the viewer confused as to what just happened and slightly dizzy. Its frustrating to watch, especially so when they really build up to the actual fight at the center of the scene and it goes by so absurdly fast that you cant see it.

Now imagine a whole film cut together like that, where scenes of people walking down streets or getting into cars are shot from every conceivable angle and cut together like mad. That film is The Bourne Supremacy.

It is relentlessly dark cinematographicaly speaking, the camera-work is absurd, the prolonged hand to hand fights often feature two people who are dressed almost identically, the big car chase scene had an incredible amount of potential but they wasted it by taping the reactions of those involved instead of what they were doing, there are shots of guns going off in scenes where multiple characters have guns and you can't figure out who just fired because you couldn't see the person, and the bit with the token Super-Evil Russian Villain at the end is never explained, there's just too much shit hitting too many fans at one time to be sensical.

The sad thing is that it seems that they made the film this way to build tension but it dosen't need it, the story and many scenes in it were very tense on their own but the way they were shown made them laughable.

The point is that it just didn't need to be that way.


Star wise I'd give it 3 out of 5.

So, if you're a die-hard Ludlum fan or a big fan of the original by all means go see it, you'll probably enjoy it and its still better than that abysmal 80's miniseries version of The Bourne Identity. If you are more of a casual fan though I'd wait until its out on DVD (though that may make it harder to watch).

A word of warning though, I imagine that this film could probably induce epileptic seizures to those who are especially succeptable to such things.